Visibility Overview/ AT: Self Image
their aff functions to make debate NECESSARY as an institution to fight racism, as per their framework—the best way to performatively challenge racism in debate might be the worst way to fight racism overall—they trade off with autonomous communities outside of conceptual regulation which are key to make changes without relying on the thing they criticize as a condition for existence
Hershock, East-West Center, 1999 [“Changing the way society changes”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 6, 154; http://jbe.gold.ac.uk/6/hershock991.html]
The trouble is that, like other technologies biased toward control, the more successful legislation becomes, the more it renders itself necessary. Because it aims at rigorous definition -- at establishing hard boundaries or limits -- crossing the threshold of legislative utility means creating conditions under which the definition of freedom becomes so complex as to be self-defeating. Taken to its logical end, legally-biased social activism is thus liable to effect an infinite density of protocols for maintaining autonomy, generating a matrix of limits on discrimination that would finally be conducive to what might be called "axiological entropy" -- a state in which movement in any direction is equally unobstructed and empty of dramatic potential. Contrary to expectations, complete "freedom of choice" would not mean the elimination of all impediments to meaningful improvisation, but rather an erasure of the latter's conditions of possibility. The effectiveness and efficiency of "hard," control-biased technologies depend on our using natural laws -- horizons of possibility -- as fulcrums for leveraging or dictating changes in the structure of our circumstances. Unlike improvised contributions to changes taking place in our situation, dictating the terms of change effectively silences our situational partners. Technological authority thus renders our circumstances mute and justifies ignoring the contributions that might be made by the seasons or the spiritual force of the mountains to the meaning -- the direction of movement -- of our ongoing patterns of interdependence. With the "perfection" of technically-mediated control, our wills would know no limit. We would be as gods, existing with no imperatives, no external compulsions, and no priorities. We would have no reason to do one thing first or hold one thing, and not another, as most sacred or dear. Such "perfection" is, perhaps, as fabulous and unattainable as it is finally depressing. Yet the vast energies of global capital are committed to moving in its direction, for the most part quite uncritically. The consequences -- as revealed in the desecration and impoverishing of both 'external' and 'internal' wilderness (for instance, the rainforests and our imaginations) -- are every day more evident. The critical question we must answer is whether the "soft" technologies of legally-biased and controlled social change commit us to an equivalent impoverishment and desecration. The analogy between the dependence of technological progress on natural laws and that of social activism on societal laws is by no means perfect. Except among a scattering of philosophers and historians of science, for example, the laws of nature are not viewed as changeable artifacts of human culture. But for present purposes, the analogy need only focus our attention on the way legal institutions -- like natural laws -- do not prescriptively determine the shape of all things to come, but rather establish generic limits for what relationships or states of affairs are factually admissible. Laws that guarantee certain "freedoms" necessarily also prohibit others. Without the fulcrums of unallowable acts, the work of changing a society would remain as purely idealistic as using wishful thinking to move mountains. Changing legal institutions at once forces and enforces societal reform. By affirming and safeguarding those freedoms or modes of autonomy that have come to be seen as generically essential to 'being human', a legally-biased social activism cannot avoid selectively limiting the ways we engage with one another. The absence of coercion may be a basic aim of social activism, but if our autonomy is to be guaranteed both fair and just, its basic strategy must be one of establishing non-negotiable constraints on how we co-exist. Social activism is thus in the business of striking structural compromises between its ends and its means -- between particular freedoms and general equality, and between practical autonomy and legal anonymity. By shifting the locus of freedoms from unique persons to generic citizens -- and in substantial sympathy with both the Platonic renunciation of particularity and the scientific discounting of the exceptional and extraordinary -- social activist methodology promotes dramatic anonymity in order to universally realize the operation of 'blind justice'. Much as hard technologies of control silence the contributions of wilderness and turn us away from the rewards of a truly joint improvisation of order, the process of social activism reduces the relevance of the always unique and unprecedented terrain of our interdependence. This is no small loss. The institutions that guarantee our generic independence effectively pave over those vernacular relationships through which our own contributory virtuosity might be developed and shared -- relationships out of which the exceptional meaning of our immediate situation might be continuously realized. In contrast with Buddhist emptiness -- a practice that entails attending to the mutual relevance of all things -- both the aims and strategies of social activism are conducive to an evacuation of the conditions of dramatic virtuosity, a societal depletion of our resources for meaningfully improvised and liberating intimacy with all things.
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